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First operational hydrogen-electric Islander to debut in Kirkwall by 2027
Loganair and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions set sights on debuting world's first operational hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander in Kirkwall by 2027.
CAeS CEO Paul Hutton and Loganair head of sustainability strategy Andy Smith with a render of the hydrogen-electric Islander.
Read this story in our February 2024 printed issue.

UK regional airline Loganair and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions are to work more closely together to have the first operational hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander flying in Kirkwall by 2027, post certification in 2026.

Loganair has been supportive of Project Fresson since its inception, but the newly solidified memorandum of understanding between the two companies signifies an enhanced level of collaboration, leveraging their collective expertise. This strategic alliance encompasses operational requirements and design, standards and regulations, infrastructure development and stakeholder engagement. The ultimate objective is to ensure the commercial rollout of the hydrogen-powered Islander, with a specific target to introduce the world's inaugural hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander into operational service within the Orkney region.

Paul Hutton, CEO, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, says: "This marks a significant stride toward achieving zero-emission flight in the Orkney Islands and potentially enabling the first zero emissions passenger air service, right here in the UK. Collaborating closely with Loganair, we aim to harness our combined experience and expertise to address the operational and infrastructure considerations, ultimately ensuring the successful deployment of the hydrogen-electric Britten-Norman Islander across Loganair's lifeline routes within the islands."

Peter Simpson, executive chairman, Loganair, adds: "As an airline, we are doing everything we can to manage and mitigate the environmental impact of flying. Our Greenskies environmental programme, which offsets carbon emissions and invests in future flight technologies, is unique within the industry, and our partnership with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions builds on the commitments we have made as part of this.

"The short haul routes we operate in Orkney and the challenging weather conditions we face make the ideal test bed for hydrogen-electric aircraft, and we are incredibly proud that we could be offering the world's first commercial zero emissions flights."

Meanwhile, CAeS continues its pioneering work in developing a proprietary hydrogen fuel-cell (HFC) propulsion system. Initially tailored for the Britten-Norman Islander, this ground-breaking technology holds the promise of extending to a spectrum of manned and unmanned platforms, including cargo aircraft, thereby amplifying the potential for widespread sustainability in aviation.

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